adobe pdf guideAdobe PDF is probably the best format for sharing documents as they are preserve the formatting, the documents are read-only and also because most computers, mobile phones and ebook readers can open PDF files.

Here you’ll learn how to do just about everything with PDF documents without Adobe Acrobat. You can edit PDF files, combine multiple files as one, add signature images to PDF pages, fill PDF forms online, extract individual pages from PDFs, add clickable links to existing PDF documents and so much more. Let’s get started.

Adobe PDF Guide & The Best PDF Tools

Q: First things first – How do I create PDF documents on my computer without Adobe Acrobat?

A: You can download and install a virtual PDF printer like Nitro Reader on your computer. You can then create PDF files from any Windows application using the regular Print command – just choose Nitro from the list of available printers.

Q: I like the cloud and don’t want to install software just for converting a bunch of documents to PDFs. Are there any web-based alternatives?

A: Sure. You can upload your documents to Google Docs in the browser and then export them as PDF files. In fact this is the recommended approach if you want to covert multiple documents to PDF in a single batch.

Q: Is it possible to convert documents to PDFs on a mobile phone?

A: There are tons of PDF conversion app for the iPhone and Android phones but you can also use email to convert documents to PDFs on a mobile phone without requiring apps. Just forward the source file(s) to pdf@zamzar.com as an email attachment and they’ll send you an email when the PDFs are ready for download.

Q: How do I directly save web page as PDFs in the browser?

A: There are several options. Either open the web page in your browser and then print it locally using the Nitro PDF Reader (See #1). Or you can email the web page URL to mypdf@joliprint.com and they’ll send you the full page as a PDF. Alternatively, you can use CleanPrint to download web pages as PDFs. This is available as a bookmarklet and as an extension for all popular browsers.

Q: How can I convert PDF files to other formats like Word, images, HTML, etc.

A: You can upload the PDF document to zamzar.com and convert it to other formats like doc, html, text, and more.  Or you can use your Gmail account to convert PDF to HTML.

Q: Someone sent me a PDF document in Chinese but I can read only English?

A: You can easily translate PDF files from one language to another using Google Translate .

Q: Can I edit PDF files?

A: PDF files are essentially read-only documents but there are several tools to help you edit PDF files.

Q: How do I merge two or more PDF files into one? Can I also change the page order?

A: You should use PDF Fill, a versatile PDF editing tool that lets you combine multiple PDF files into one. PDF Fill can also be used to rearrange pages of a PDF file or for rotating pages (useful for scanned PDFs).

Q: I want to extract text from a scanned PDF document and use it in my Word document. What is the best option?

A: You can easily extract text from regular PDFs using the text selection tool in Adobe Reader but for scanned PDFs, Google Docs OCR is a good choice. Upload the scanned PDF document to Google Docs, select the option that says “Convert text from PDF and image files to Google documents” and then choose File – > Download as Word to save the extracted text.

Q: I have some restricted PDF documents on my computer that neither allow printing nor can you select text with the mouse.

A: You can use online services like PDFUnlock.com or freemyPDF.com to remove all common restrictions around a PDF file – such as print, copying, etc. – without requiring any passwords.

Q: Some PDF files on our intranet are protected by a password and the employee who created those PDFs is no longer with the company. How can we open these PDFs?

A: There are workarounds to open password protected PDFs or you can completely remove passwords from a PDF file (like your bank’s credit card statements).

Q: Is there a PDF conversion service that I can integrate with my website to help visitors download my articles as PDFs?

A: Add the Joliprint button anywhere on your website and people can convert your web articles to PDFs with a click. If your blog offers an RSS feed, you can use RSS2PDF to offer a downloadable PDF version of your blog.

Q: How can I add annotations or text notes to some of my PDF documents?

A: Get PDF-X Viewer, a PDF viewer app like Adobe Reader but with some extra features. You can add comments, annotations or even paste images to your PDF pages. Alternatively, use PDF Escape to add annotations, call-outs and text to your PDFs online in the browser without requiring any software.

Q: Can I fill PDF forms online without Acrobat Reader?

A: Sure, go to PDF Filler, upload the PDF form and start typing. It converts the PDF form into images and the user can type right on top of these images. When you have filled the form and ready to print, the images and user text are combined into a single image. The other good option is FillanyPDF.com that is again free.

Q: How can I add watermarks or even my (real) signature to a PDF document?

A: First draw your signature in Paint (or other photo editing tool) and save it as an image. Now open Adobe Reader and choose Tools – > Place Signature. Copy-paste that signature image anywhere on the PDF page. You can use the same technique to insert watermarks inside the PDF.

Q: I have a PDF book that contains some 200 pages. Is there a way to extract selected pages from that book and save it as another PDF.

A: You can the free PDF SAM (split and merge) utility to extract one or more pages from a PDF document and save them as separate PDFs. The same tool can be used to merge multiple PDFs into one file.

Q: How can I protect my PDF documents with a password?

A: Upload the PDF file to pdfprotect.net, set a security password and export it as PDF again. The service can be used to password-protect files up to 10 MB in size.

Q: How do I embed PDF files on my blog?

A: Upload the PDF file to Google Docs and then embed it in your web pages using the Google Docs Viewer. Alternatively, upload the PDF to document hosting sites like Issuu, Scribd or SlideShare and use their Flash based viewer for embedding PDF into your web pages.